The New Italian Decree on Start-ups

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The Italian Parliament has finally approved the decree (the so-called “Development Decree”) which contains important provision on the promotion and support for start-ups. This bill contains several measures to support growth in the Italian economy and the implementation of the digital agenda.
Due to the political crisis which is affecting the country and the risk of a collapse of the Monti government, the decree is passed without modifications and all the amendments proposed have been rejected.
The decree follows previous legislative innovations aimed at improving youth entrepreneurship. In particular, young entrepreneurs (until 35 years old) can create companies with a corporation stock of 1 euro, free of expenses for public notaries. They will also be exempted from the annual fee due to the Chamber of Commerce. These companies are named “simplified limited liability companies”.
On the other hand, however, other entities, companies or associations cannot be business partners of the start-up and cannot follow a merger or corporate sale.
The decree provides a definition of start-up company, which are all the firms which respect specific prerequisites, listed by the law.
According to the first criterion required by the new decree, startups must produce products or services with a high innovative and technological content (the parameters will be held in a following decree to be issued). They must have been established for not more than four years.
Furthermore, a substantial part of their costs (pair to the 30% of the total costs) will have to be allocated on research and development activities. Alternatively, lacking this requisite, it is required that 1/3 of his workers got a PhD or has been employed for at least 3 years by a research institute; always alternatively, that the company holds or has registered at least one patent.
Start-up’s headquarters must be located in Italy, and it must develop its business interests principally within the Italian territory. All these requisites can be self-certified by the legal representative of the start-up.
Special (and more convenient) labor law rules on hiring are applied to start-ups, such as those concerning annual or terminable contracts.
The new Decree also regulates incubators and crowdfunding. As for this latter aspect, it will be possible to collect funds through web portals and so, for the first time in the Italian law, through subjects other than banks and financial institutions.
Finally, the new Decree contains significant provisions concerning tax deductions.
The new regulations will be fully analyzed on a web-site, managed by the law firm Scorza Riccio & Partners, which will be launched next week.

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